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(2017) Your input could help SAVE the historic Haʻikū Stairs -- Act by May 23

On April 23, 2017, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply announced in an Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice that it plans to tear out the Haʻikū Stairs.

This notice triggers a 30-day comment period, during which time the public can express their opinions on the project. Of particular importance is identifying issues not mentioned in the EISPN that you feel should be discussed. The BWS is required to address in the EIS all relevant issues brought up during this comment period.

In our review, the FHS Board of Directors has identified the following important issues, which we will be including in our comments:

1. While the EISPN mentions environmental impacts to be examined caused by the removal of the Stairs, there is no mention of the incalculable loss of this irreplaceable recreational, educational, historic and cultural resource -- as if they could simply tear it out and no one would miss it. Above all, the City is the public steward of its resources, and it cannot simply walk away from this responsibility because it’s inconvenient for them.

2. The EISPN identifies a “conveyance alternative” to be explored, which entails turning over the Stairs to another government agency or private entity to run. They are overlooking the simplest and most straightforward solution: having BWS hire a contractor to run the Stairs. The BWS, through their contractor, could charge an admission fee sufficient to cover all operating, maintenance and management costs, and the contractor would be responsible for all liability. 

3. The EISPN states that they intend to examine only one alternative access route to the Stairs: through Windward Community College and Hawaii State Hospital. At the very least, BWS should examine the original route to the Stairs: straight up Haʻikū Road, with parking in the old USCG Omega Station parking lot.

4. BWS has repeatedly stated the ~$160,000/year security guard expense as one of their main reasons for removing the Stairs – as if safeguarding the taxpayer’s money is a top priority for them. If that’s the case, why did the City spend approximately $1 million in 2002 to repair the Stairs? Why spend more than $500,000 now on an EIS consultant, just to get legal permission to tear out the Stairs? And worst of all, why spend an estimated $3-5 million to destroy a resource that has brought joy and wonder to more than a million people? Normally governments spend this kind of money to create a world-class attraction. 

We need to hold our public officials accountable for the way they spend their time, and our money. It is time for the Stairs to be reopened for all to enjoy. 

Comments from the public are an integral part of this process. Please send your comments by May 23 to both the City’s accepting authority at, and to their EIS consultant at We sincerely thank you for your time.


UPDATE: Neighborhood Board APPROVES resolution 

On June 15, the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board considered the resolution on the Haʻikū Stairs, and approved it on a 9-0 vote with one abstention. Bear in mind the BWS is still conducting their EIS, which could take months.

Please note that the Stairs remain closed at this time. Our organization has been disallowed volunteer maintenance access by the BWS. Despite this, we maintain our insurance policy for volunteer maintenance climbs and are optimistic for the future.

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1 Comment

My beloved uncle, David Jessup was stationed here at Haiku, During WWII, in the US Navy. My uncle worked hard to try to see that this historic landmark be preserved. He went to Washington DC and hoped that this could be a monument. In dedication to the military men & women that served courageously during World War II, I believe we owe it to them. We need to leave historic pieces of history for generations to come. My hope is

that it will be preserved. (In loving memory of David W. Jessup who passed away on

4/10/20, most likely the last survivor of any military person that served during WWII at this post Haiku') Theresa Jordan, Seattle WA

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